From margaret, a mother

 photo by  Rebecca Boyd

photo by Rebecca Boyd

I think we’ve settled on how this is going to be.

The voices here will arrive and depart, and like a beach to tides a new sandscape will form in the elders’ place. We need this place like food and air and then one day we open our eyes and whisper I think I can walk now, on my own and with a nod to the others, we step from one side to the other, across a foggy sort of before-and-after boundary we hadn’t been sure we’d ever find.

From I am completely lost

to a deep breath and a rubbing of eyes and a blinking in some strange new sun and

I am not completely lost.

***

She writes to me out of the blue and the WHY of why we are here snaps into place with an audible sound:

I too am the mother of a twin who died. My son Calvin and his twin sister Georgia were born November 10, 2008. Calvin had a rare heart defect that required urgent surgery which he had at three days old. He died from complications after suffering a third degree bilateral brain bleed. We too held our son as he left this earth.

My grief is still raw and all consuming and I find myself searching, searching for anything to make me feel like I'm not walking through death's valley all alone. Truly, for me, my journey is just beginning and yours is an insight into the road ahead. Thank you for living it first so that I can find hope that there will be laughter again, that I can love my son's twin and celebrate her life instead of marinating in his death until it sucks the life out of me.

But right now, I need that pain. I need to feel it and breathe it and live it over and over again until it is such a part of me that I can live my life again.

Funny how I've become someone else but no one seems to notice. They all recognize me and say hello, nonchalantly, like nothing at all has happened. Do people ever really see what we've become? Will I ever be able to dream again? Every night I go to sleep in the hopes of seeing my son's face, of holding him one more time and every night there is nothing but blackness.

When does the feeling of being on an iceflow in the middle of the ocean go away? And will people stop avoiding me like I've contracted some contagious disease? Why is it that when you speak of your baby it makes people so uncomfortable they look like they want to run away? Don't people know that this is the most tragic event of my life and that I need to talk about the six days he lived over and over and over and over again until it feels real to me, that it's not some bad dream I'll eventually wake up from?

I needed you and you were there.

That itself is proof to me that there is more than dust.

Perhaps your son took my son by the hand and said "...my mom will understand. Tell your mommy to talk to her, and she will know how it is, and she will be there."

Some compelling force that I'll never be big enough to understand made me write to you and tell you how your pain has opened up the looking glass of my life long enough for me to stick my head through and look to the other side of despair. Perhaps it was because of babies like Liam that mothers like me—who are dying inside right now—get through the tomorrows until the pain is nothing more than a tender spot on the soul.

Perhaps it is because of him that I know I am not alone.

We’ve been nurturing this community for just nine months and there’s already so much here, not only from us but from you, too. Practicality and suckitude and redemption and contemplation and religion and randomness and reassurance and earthquake and geography and questioning and a living-without-answers.

You there. Babylost mama, or daddy, with the door just closed at your back. Perhaps it's only been a few weeks or months and you've found us, but you still haven’t shaken the snow off your boots. We don’t want this to feel like a gathering so established that you don’t see an opening for your own words. There’s chocolate in a pot on the stove, and space just there in front of the fire.

How are you? Who are you? How are you sleeping? How do you remember and how do you forget? What do you wish for? What can we be for you? Because, you must know, this place is most of all for you.
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Kate

Author, photographer, founder of Glow. Mother of three boys, one of whom died at six weeks old nine years ago. Nine years ago, I was someone else. Love and sorcery and poetry and terrible luck and wonderful luck.